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ESSAY ON IRISH BULLS.
Summos posse viros, et magna exempla daturos,
What mortal, what fashionable mortal, is there who has not, in the midst of a formidable circle, been reduced to the embarrassment of having nothing to say ?
say? Who is there that has not felt those oppressive fits of silence which ensue after the weather, and the fashions, and the politics, and the scandal, and all the commons place topics of the day have been utterly exhausted? Who is there that, at such a time, has not tried in vain to call up an idea, and found that none would come when they did call, or that all that came were impertinent, and must be rejected, some as too grave, others too gay, some too vulgar, some too refined for the hearers, some relating to persons, others to circumstances that must not be mentioned ? Not one will do! and all this time the silence lasts, and the difficulty of breaking it increases every instant in an incalculable proportion.
Let it be some comfort to those whose polite sensibility has laboured under such distress to be assured, that they need never henceforward fear to be reduced to similar dilemmas. They may be insured for ever against such dangers at the slight premium and upon the easy condition of perusing the following little volume. It will satisfy them that there is a subject which still affords inexhausted and inexhaustible sources of conversation, suited to all tastes, all ranks, all individuals, democratic, aristocratic, commercial, or philosophic; suited to every company which can be combined, purposely or fortuitously, in this great metropolis, or in any of the most remote parts of England, Wales, or Scotland. There is a subject which dilates the heart of every true Briton, which relaxes his muscles, however rigid, to a smile,—which opens his lips, however closed, to conversation. There is a subject “ which frets another's spleen to cure our own," and which makes even the angelic part of the creation laugh themselves mortal. For who can forbear to laugh at the bare idea of an Irish bull ?
Nor let any one apprehend that this subject can ever become trite and vulgar. Custom cannot stale its infinite variety. It is in the main obvious, and palpable enough for every common understanding ; yet it leads to disqui